How to avoid general democracy issues in Cardano?

I think it is important to remember that PoS systems cannot be a democracy. They are by definition a plutocracy, whatever hybrid forms they may take. Bringing liquid voting in the mix won’t change the fact that this system will count votes based on stake.

I anticipate that one trade-of is that people will more likely base their decisions on rational thinking rather than emotions or revenge precisely because of their stake, that acts here as a proxy for a minimal education on the issue to be voted on.

Until the day we’ll be given a private key at birth, making us crypto citizens by right, I don’t really see how to discuss all these problems under the label of democracy.

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Even if one were to build a perfectly sound democratic system, that system would only be as healthy as the people using the system.

Here is the way to make the Cardano democratic system remain fair and healthy:

We market to the demographic of people that hold high moral standards (equality, objectivity, transparency, etc.). To use Ishleh’s analogy of the 11 idiots vs 10 geniuses: we stack the system with more geniuses. I’m going to widen the criteria to include more than just intelligence. I’m going to include ethics and morals into the equation.

So the “idiots” (I’m changing this to “unhealthy”) are people with lower IQ, and/or low moral standards (cares more about ego/$ than people). A higher percentage of these type of people in the system causes the system to be less stable.

The “geniuses” (from now on “healthy”) are people with higher IQ, and/or high moral standards (equality, cares about ego stuff like fame, control, $). A higher percentage of these types of people in the system causes the system to be more stable.

The ecosystem is already growing organically in this manner, but I feel that it wouldn’t hurt to focus a marketing campaign to bring in type of the people that we feel would create a healthy system.

The quality of the people using the system will greatly effect the health and stability of that system. So we stack it off the start. If we want a system “X”, then we present Cardano in a way to attract “X” type people.

So Cardano is in a position where they are building a perfect (as they can) democratic system, and they have the ability to attract the type of people that would be ideal for the health and stability of the system, into the system. That’s a complicated sentence.

Cardano is building the perfect engine. We are at the pump. Do we choose “Regular” or “Super” unleaded? If we market properly we can fill the system with people that will be good for the system.


Well said @Zenman

I live in the UK, and I believe in democracy. However my definition of this will be strained in the future due to Brexit.

This thread has commented on the complacency of people which can effect voting and there outcomes, other people have views that can be interpreted as elitism ie voting based on education, and finally wealth (I have more votes) etc.

So the governance model which could be deployed would assume an unknown percentage of people will vote with a unknown percentage of their coins (Assuming 1 coin = 1 Vote) and we do not know if a minority total quantity of votes could actually win a proposed policy.

This governance would dictate which policies are voted on and the outcomes. People who engage with the voting system will reap rewards in any geographical location which they actively apply themselves.

So my conclusion would be to remove the PEOPLE from the selection process on what policies should be voted on.

Cardano is based on math and peer review, by buying ADA we all have already chosen this design philosophy. We have accepted that IOHK, Emurgo and Cardano Foundation will work in Cardano best interest for the future. Why not let the philosophy continue and get academia to design an AI to select what policies should be voted on based on network usage, geographical location etc , Its goal could be to select policies that would provide greater decentralization and further adoption. This AI could also adjust the qualifying criteria (no of decentralized votes required) for the policy to be passed/failed based on cost/location risk and reward etc.

Ada holders would still have the ability to vote for the AI selected policies.
(I would also expect IOHK, Emurgo and Cardano Foundation to propose policies outside of the AI control)

Also policies should be considered from the entire worlds population rather than just ADA holders since this would promote further adoption and interaction. (Hence the need for AI nodes ?)

Remember we already interact with AI marketing on a daily basis.

(I use the term policies in a very broad sense)
(That should keep IOHK, Emurgo and Cardano Foundation busy till 2030+)


There are a lot of interesting thoughts here but unfortunately also a lack of trust in the ability of others to vote “correctly”. This is what we see also in politics and it leads to centralisation because “we, the elite” now exactly what should be done and voted for while “they, the plebs” have to be educated or simply manipulated to vote the right way.

In my opinion, by far the most people like to be involved in honest democratic acts but often feel not taken seriously which leads to anger, and apathy at votes, or even to voting extreme positions which they don’t share, just to vote against the big fish.

For Cardano democracy whe have to make sure that the information about the different positions is made clear to everyone who likes to vote. It’s not necessary that everyone reads for 10 hours through all blogs, forum posts, twitter news etc about it, that’s just not possible for everyone. But each side at votes should be able to condense their position to one or two pages. Then there should be a place (maybe someday Cardano Foundation will be able to provide that…) to create a bulletin of the different position papers. Much more problematic is probably how to handle untrue, defamatory, populistic approaches to gain backers at votes. I don’t have an answer how to handle that.

One incredible thing we have in Germany is the Wahl-O-Mat where before elections all participating parties get a list of questions towards different actual political questions and can provide their view about it. Every voter can then get through the list too and pick his favourite answers to the questions to see how much accordance there is to the different parties. It’s a great tool, unfortunately not used by most people.

And a last thought: I have some problems with the concept of delegated voting. Is there really a good reason for that? If not I would say that voting should only be possible directly by the ADA-holder. The number of different people voting would not be larger with delegated voting, just the amount of ADA involved. This could lead to voting apathy because “my few ADA don’t count”.

And another last proposal: Maybe the voting power could be capped for very large wallets, say e.g. at 1 Million ADA. Surely someone with 1 Billion ADA could separate everything into 1000 different wallets with 1 Million ADA to keep full voting power but I don’t think that this would be done, it’s just too much effort.

Trust the people, mistrust the leaders!

This part I wouldn’t do. It would be nice to let Charles and all the IOHK, Emurgo, CF people with higher holdings vote with a bit more power. Also I believe the relatively more ADA someone has, the more he will invest into making sure he is educated, knowledgeable enough about a topic to properly vote or delegate it to the “leader” who should represent him in a vote.

And as you said it’s not a big deal anyway to distribute your ADA holdings to more wallets, so it would be too easy to bypass any such rules.

Just imagine your would have random
10 guys with 100k ADA in the Community have the same voting power as Charles. I don’t see this necessarily good, maybe in a decade ahead with hopefully mass adoption the distribution of ADA is more even among the population.

A) If you have someone with little ADA who cares & is knowledgeable he will delegate his voting stake to the Voice that matches his expectations & believes.
B) If you have someone with little ADA who doesn’t care or is not knowledgeable maybe it’s better that his vote is proportional to his vote.
C) If you have someone with little ADA who cares & is knowledgeable then nothing prevents him from growing into a leader in the Ecosystem and have others delegate their voting stake to him so he may have more influence.
I don’t see that such an apathy would occur in liquid democracy.

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It’s the same mechanic like the pool leader election problem. Voting power has to be tied on ADA holdings, there is no other way. Everything else can and will be exploited.

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I see this as a common problem that democracy should mean equality in any situation or context.

This illusion of fairness & freedom is a “weakness” populist politics is exploiting and it gives room for fake / illiberal democracies, where the mass is brainwashed & manipulated to vote against their best interest. We know all these infamous figures in today’s politics and completely irrational votes for cases with significance that happened…

You should have a minimum objective knowledge & understanding (hard to filter out from the mixed reliability & quality information overload and keep your emotions out of the game) about a topic you would like to vote on. And you should take some sort of responsibility & accountability for casting your vote.

Of course, of course, as our history tells. We humans never ever fall even when we gain powers.:slight_smile: So, you recommend to step in the same water again and again. Yep, it makes sense.

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Listen – strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony


So we should market the type of people that would participate in the democracy, and participate in a way that would keep the system strong.

Wouldn’t it make sense to stack the system with people who will be healthy for the system? We can do this via appropriate marketing.

Possibly the funniest movie ever made.

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Guys, I’m impressed with the number of responses. It could take some time for me to catch up, mentally digest everything and get back into the discussion.

Thank you for your thoughts and comments so far!


Oh, I don’t think that it’s “a bit more power”. The first four addresses contain 20% of all ADA!

I don’t believe so. It only says he invested more money. An African farmer who owns 100 ADA can be more educated about Cardano than the son of a millionaire who just plays around with Dad’s money. That might be exaggerated, but I think you know what I mean. The value of ones investment is relative, not absolute.

I don’t know it it can be automated but if not, I think it IS a big deal to distribute 1 billion ADA to 1000 addresses. Gladly a problem I don’t have… :laughing: Also I think that the big players are honest and could assure that they will not distribute their holdings. And everyone can just proof it. And what would happen if there would be one dishonest whale? Well, not very much. This guy would just get the same voting influence he would have also without any cut for voting. So the danger is quite limited.

I would even expect that Charles would like that idea! :smiley:

I really don’t understand the concept why we need leaders where we can delegate our voting to. This whole concept is quite scary to me.

Maybe I’m wrong but the decision-making which pool gets the right to create the next slot is very different for me from democratic decisions where the future development of something depends on.

Cardano must be able to live with all kinds of people, not only the ones you or I or Charles like. See the EU as an example where the “new” Eastern countries have often quite different opinions on some topics than the “old” Central European countries. Who is wrong or right? Everyone has his own historical background for his standpoint and everyone can feel completely right. There is no other chance than discuss and make compromises. Democracy is slow and annoying sometimes but it’s the least dangerous form of decision-making we know. Now, how could we find “the type of people”? There are many different types of people. And I think it’s great that not everyone thinks the same way I do. :wink:

So in order to have a strong, fair, stable operating democracy, it is necessary for those using the system to cooperate with the system.

If there is going to be marketing, we should target the people who will participate for the good of the system.

It’s a pretty basic idea, but an important one for a system in its infancy.

Maybe I missed it in the above conversation. Anyway.

My main points on democracy:

  1. Democracy is directly linked to how we see human beings and their inalienable rights. One human, one vote - we all have the same individual rights. No question may be asked about education, being rich or poor, being an expert or not. We must trust and we must invest in our abilities. For a truly democratic decision in that sense we cannot allow voting based on stakes or anything else but just based on the a unique key which identifies one and only one human being. (The key probably needs to be linked to some biometric data to guarantee that a single living person voted only once. That’s a perfect application for PRISM & Blockchain, to guarantee unicity and privacy.)

  2. Votes on treasury and funding: Maybe we don’t want them to be taken in a democratic way, but the plutocratic way, because we are afraid of a different form of hostile takeover? Well, then stakes decide on voting rights and not the fact that I am a human being, because they guarantee inherently that voters won’t burn the house. But if we take the idea of democracy seriously, stakes cannot be the scale for my voting rights.

  3. Give incentives to participate in the democratic process: Of course ! That may motivate people at different levels to engage and participate. From just delegating their votes … up to becoming a political leader.

Some ideas how to overcome stake-based voting rights:

  • After registration you only progressively gainly voting power (equivalent to getting a citizenship, you become a Cardanian over time with all rights)
  • Use a staged approach for votings. The larger the project, the more voting rounds it must pass.

Now that we are getting closer to Voltaire and the Catalyst project is progressing, this discussion becomes essential. Although I believe that at least for treasury and funding the scene seems to be set for stake-based voting rights.

I would like to vote, and get more involved with projects competing for funds. But I don’t have enough ADA to vote. As a matter of fact, I put a topic questioning what is the underlying principle of the relationship between ADA-wallet and the right to vote (What is the underlying principle regarding the amount of ADA-wallet and the right to vote in Catalyst Funds?) - just because I really don’t understand: Why is a person with 1,000,000 ADA more suitable to vote than a person with 1 ADA …? Perhaps it is for reasons linked to the economic model that structures the Cardano ecosystem, I do not know. I haven’t had an answer yet. It is a pity because the sense of community is somehow lost here. I am not in this universe of crypto-currency as an investor, but rather as curious about blockchain technology, smart contracts and DeFi. The little funds I have on the market are just for trying the applications that are emerging and shaping our way of thinking and doing things.

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Well, I just realized that there are $140,000/ADA rewards to be distributed to voters in Catalyst Funds projects. This makes me think of the following: that voting has little of “democracy” when there are rewards at stake (because it distances the concept of democracy from the concept of citizenship); that whoever has more ADA is the one who gets the reward (which is very typical in capitalism); and it’s a strange thing these crypto-ecosystems and sense of community that live off of reward offers - there are rewards for everything everywhere. It reminds me of a zoo where I went as a child and we would give “rewards” to the elephant to see it ring the bell with its trunk. What a weird democracy.

Actually, I deleted my answer because nothing has changed since :

Two years ago …

In fact, I even liked the second version better, more synthetic and objective. But the first version also looks good to me. It’s great that all this pseudo-democracy thing becomes clearer and disappears from the horizon - even so there will always be people who are in the ecosystem believing that the world moves for greater values and not just for money…